How Do You Milk Happiness?

Everyone has their own definition of happiness. For some people, it means achieving particular goals in the long run of life and for some people, happiness comes down to little things. Some people call their inner peace happiness and some people count their lifetime achievements as the happiest memories of their lives. It all depends on how we perceive our life events and what choices we make for ourselves. Although happiness comes and goes like the wind, sometimes we notice it when it blows hard, sometimes it goes under-appreciated.

Being the night owl I am, sleep was nowhere near me. It was already three in the morning and I had to get up at six for work. Lost deep into the usual chaos my mind is, my thoughts clashed over one another. Watching the past events of my life playing like a movie in my head; from my decisions to never-ending struggles, from my hard work to success, from the tears I have cried to the fits of laughter I shared with my family, this question rained down on all of my thoughtful parades, how does one simply milk happiness?

One thing that was clear to me about happiness from a very long time was that happiness is not something you find at the end of your life’s journey. It is something you create yourself as you make your way towards the end. Happiness lies in your everyday actions. As humans, we aim for something so big that we forget to pay attention to the small things where the true happiness lies; in all the things we do and say. I somehow got lucky enough that day as I further pondered upon the question. Unable to sleep, I got up at four and went out for a jog. The streets were quiet and the parks were empty. The parking lots hushed and the chirping of birds far way on the trees soothing yet secretly carried traces of life around.

Sky all shades of blue, yellow, orange and dark gave away the truth about how tiny we are and how huge the universe can be. I jogged back home to find my mother making pancakes for breakfast. I watched her weary back from the kitchen door as she told me to freshen up without even turning back. Guess, she already knew I was home. I stood for ten seconds more before I left to change. In those ten seconds, I noticed how old she had gotten over time and I was only realizing how people we love tend to frail and eventually part.

As I stood under the cold shower, I thought about how less attention I had paid to everyone around me. I realized that having a successful career, a higher educational degree, wealth and the materials this world offers were no longer the things that made me happy. How does one extract happiness from life? The question was on repeat in the back of my mind like a slow chant. I came downstairs and suddenly felt the warmth

embracing my body as the aroma of freshly made pancakes and hot chocolate filled my bones. My mother smiled at me and casually made the small talk. The smile that curved up her lips slightly felt like a tiny ray of sunshine and hope to me. I could not respond to any of her concerned questions because I was too busy focusing on her.

I was watching her move and clear up the used dishes as she talked and smiled in between of her sentences. That particular scent of her green sweater and gray hair tied down her back made me realize how I managed to waste so much time trying to run after the so-called bigger things when all I needed in the world was five more minutes with my mother every morning. Her pancakes still tasted the same. My all-time favorite. In between of admiring her beauty and love, I broke out into the same question.

“How do you milk happiness, mom?”          

She sat down beside me and smiled with all the love in the world. Her hand caressing my head slowly as she spoke in her beautiful voice, “You, my love, only pay attention. Then you can catch happiness hiding away in the most unexpected places.” 

She was right. Living in the present, paying close attention to the simplest of moments, smiling more and spending two more minutes with your parents was all that happiness took. I thanked my mother for being there for me when I let her efforts go unappreciated as tears streamed down my face. A little guilty, I later thought about all the other people in our lives who we shrug off forgetting how each one of them truly matters.

I dropped work that day and spent a lot of time with my mother doing nothing special but the usual chores and remembering our fading memories. Finally, getting all my questions answered at the end of the day, I came down to only one conclusion; paying attention to simple moments and little things is one true way to milk all the happiness in the world.